Ok, let's get this out of the way. Mr. Silla is not actually a Mister, but the solo project of Sigurlaug Gísladóttir, who has performed with nearly every Icelandic act you can think of including Múm, Low Roar and Snorri Helgason.
Quite why she chooses to call herself Mr. Silla is a mystery, and twice as much now that her long-awaited album is called the same. It’s an album worth waiting for—I get the feeling that Silla is something of a perfectionist and wouldn't release anything she wasn't entirely happy with. The exquisite ‘One Step’ for example, has been a staple of her live set since 2011.
At this year’s Airwaves, Silla performed a delightful set at 12 Tónar that saw the tiny record store packed to the rafters, and fans queuing down the street or peering through windows to catch a glimpse of her. Rolling Stone and this very publication named it as a highlight of the festival. In hindsight, this wasn’t Silla’s natural environment. At a previous festival, she performed in the early hours, in a set of near darkness, wrapped in smoke and ultraviolet and with a set full of seduction.
Mr. Silla—the album—itself is a slinky, sexy affair, full of late night electronics and gentle, caressing vocals. This is no more evident than on the sultry ‘Reach for Me.’ “All I want is to just feel your touch,” Silla coos, “And see you blush.”
The highlight though, is 'Breathe.' Full of delicious layers that are reminiscent of múm's darker side, Silla delivers a vocal performance that manages to be both brooding and ethereal.
With this sensual, alluring effort, Mr. Silla might just have released the Icelandic album of the year.
Edward Hancox - edhancox(at)live.co.uk
Edward Hancox lives in in the United Kingdom with his wife and two small, noisy children but spends as much time as he can in Iceland. Music—especially contemporary Icelandic music—is his other passion. He writes about both subjects for Iceland Review and in his debut book, Iceland, Defrosted. He does not consider himself an expert on anything.